NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are searching for a suspect on a bicycle who they say rides up to pedestrians and grabs their cell phones right from their hands.
Police believe he first started the string of robberies on May 28 when they said he rode up to a 33-year old woman on Madison Avenue near 102nd Street and grabbed her phone right out of hand.
On May 29, a 27-year-old woman was on 61st Street when police said the suspect rode past and snatched her phone and took off. An hour later near Morningside and West 125th Street, police said a 25-year-old woman reported her phone was stolen as she was holding it.
Then the next day on May 30, police said the suspect struck twice in the same spot at Lexington Avenue and East 88th Street.
Around 7 p.m., police said the man tried to pull the phone from a woman’s hand but she held on tight and he didn’t get it. He then went back again an hour later and stole a phone from a 34-year-old woman.
In the sixth incident on June 2, police said a 48-year-old man reported his phone was snatched near 5th Avenue and 104th Street.
The most recent incident happened on June 4, where police said a 41-year-old man had his phone ripped from his hand near 76th Street and 3rd Avenue.
The string of robberies have people changing their awareness about their surroundings when holding their phone out on the street.
“Usually I have it out, definitely not paying attention – especially as people are riding by on a bike,” said Andrew Hoeft who works on the Upper East Side.
No injuries were reported in any of the incidents, but police estimate the suspect has stolen upwards of $5,000 worth of phones.
Police describe as a man in his late teens to early 20s and say he was last seen wearing a white tank top and red shorts and was riding a white bicycle.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.